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Dress-Down Friday | All Hallows Eve

As all of you know today is Dress Down Friday, not to mention Halloween. So here’s a little trick and a treat.

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Blog Entries Church in Mission Featured Reviews The Cultural The Political The Technological The Theological

The McCain-Palin Taste for The Secret

McCain-Palin Taste for the Secret

We live in a culture of increasing secrecy. Despite claims of being the ‘age of information,’ one might goes so far as to say we live in a culture of ‘the secret.’ Not only has there been a flood of recent secular books all pointing to new secrets being discovered like the strange self-help philosophy of “The Secret,” the blockbuster movie, “The Da Vinci Code” or the new pseudo-history, “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left.” Christians have been getting in on the secret as well with tons of books recently published around, “The Secret Gospel of Judas,” “Discovering the Secret of a Man’s (or woman’s) Soul” and of course, “The Secret Message of Jesus.”

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Blog Entries Reviews The Cultural

Zizek and Theology by Adam Kotsko

Adam Kotsko’s recent book, Žižek and Theology, is a great addition to the growing library of commentaries, introductions and appropriations surrounding Slavoj Žižek‘s philosophical work. It was only recently published in the States by T & T clark and it comes in the series “Philosophy and Theology,” which promises to be a pretty good series with upcoming titles covering Nietzsche, Derrida, Wittgenstein, Hegel, Heidegger and Badiou. I was pretty excited (and a bit surprised) to see “Žižek and Theology” this on the shelf of our local bookstore (Vroman’s) in Pasadena so I grabbed the last copy while I had the chance.

The book gives a general overview of Žižek’s work starting with Sublime Object of Ideology and moves all the way up to The Parallax View offering a stunningly thorough, yet never bogged down, tour of the key arguments and development of Žižek’s thought since 1989.

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Blog Entries Church in Mission The Technological

Barclay Press: Gospel Order and Convergence Culture (Part 2)

I’ve posted the second part to my Barclay Press article on technology and the church, called “Gospel Order and Convergence Culture,” have a look. Here’s a short quote from the post:

While technology is a dominating force in our world today God’s reign is not excluded from it, God’s reign can emerge from within as much as outside of this context. We often find unexpected places within the world where God’s Kingdom is reflected. For the last 50 years or so missiologists have argued that the Missio Dei (God’s Mission) is at work in cultures around the world whether the church is present there or not. One example might be to look at a few positive areas where God could be at work within ‘convergence culture.’

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Tracking Emering Churches in Denominations

Most of you know I have at least some interest in the emerging church and write about it from time to time, or maybe it’s just a guilty-by-association thing.  But in either case insofar as these new community’s are ‘missional’ expressions of the church, and exemplify ‘new forms’ of worship, practice and Christian-imagination than I find their stories to be helpful for navigating and dreaming of the possibilities for the church in the 21st century.

One thing I’m particularly interested in is how denominations might learn from these groups. A while back I wrote a post on this question and what I saw as four possible models of the emerging church. Part of the post, and certainly the great comments that followed, tried to display how particular denominations are showing ‘signs of emergence.’ Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, authors of the now-standard study on the Emerging Church, have now done the hard work of gathering actual stories and articles from nine leaders of emerging churches rooted within various traditions. As Ryan Bolger announced on his (new wordpress) blog, he and Gibbs edited the fall edited of Fuller Seminary’s ‘Theology, News and Notes’ the issue is titled “Emerging Churches in Denominational Structures.” Some of the denomination represented are Lutheran, PCUSA, Adventist, and Missionary Alliance. Here’s a quote from Bolger and Gibb’s opening article:

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Blog Entries Reviews

New Books: The Monstrosity of Christ, Evangelicals and Empire, and Lessig’s Remix

Here are a few new books on their way out, or already published, that I want to highlight.

The Monstrosity of Christ by Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank. The book is about secularism, politics and the future of Christianity between two unlikely characters: John Milbank, the main proponent of the academically-heady, yet provocative, ‘Radical Orthodoxy’ movement, and the cultural philosopher and Atheist Žižek. Here’s a blurb from the book’s website:

Žižek has long been interested in the emancipatory potential offered by Christian theology. And Milbank, seeing global capitalism as the new century’s greatest ethical challenge, has pushed his own ontology in more political and materialist directions. Their debate in The Monstrosity of Christ concerns the future of religion, secularity, and political hope in light of a monsterful event—God becoming human. For the first time since Žižek’s turn toward theology, we have a true debate between an atheist and a theologian about the very meaning of theology, Christ, the Church, the Holy Ghost, Universality, and the foundations of logic. The result goes far beyond the popularized atheist/theist point/counterpoint of recent books by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and others.

And Žižek’s really excitable quote:

To put it even more bluntly, my claim is that it is Milbank who is effectively guilty of heterodoxy, ultimately of a regression to paganism: in my atheism, I am more Christian than Milbank.

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Blog Entries The Technological

Using Wiki’s for Class Collaboration – Fall Quarter 2008

This year I will be assisting Ryan Bolger (his new website) in his classes again, for the fall quarter we’re doing Church in Mission. Over the last three years I’ve TA’d a number of different classes with him and he’s always doing some really great things with technology and the classroom. Our typical approach has been to utilize blogs for class discussions, reading reviews and student comments, but in years past we’ve also used delicious.com for web research, and wiki’s for group projects. This year we’re returning to the wiki idea and I’m pretty excited about how it’s turning out (we borrowed lots of great ideas from Michael Wesch). We set up a Church in Mission wiki, using the free service from Wetpaint.com (for educational wiki’s they’ll even turn off the ads), and are structuring the whole course around the website. The class of 70+ students are separated into various groups around various ethnic traditions, each group then spends the whole quarter working on a group wiki around post-colonial issues and their particular traditions.

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Blog Entries The Political

About the Nuance of Voting Records

Ran across this on On Voting Records and I thought it was appropriate for here as well. He begins by offering this little formula “My opponent voted x times for/against y.  X times!” and then writes:

No doubt the candidates are uttering such in the debate at this moment.  The problem with this for of rhetoric is that a vote is a binary fact which lacks commentary.  That is, someone can make a factual point by saying “my opponent voted x times for y,” but the reasons for the votes are not addressed.  In the current political climate it is popular to accuse one’s opponent of voting against funding for the military (or “for our troops”).  However, it is likely that the opponent voted against not out of a desire to defund the troops, but because some detail of the bill was unacceptable (for example, time tables and financing).  Voting for or against a bill and supporting or not supporting an issue are not the same thing.

I have misgivings when either candidate pulls out the “he voted this, this many times,” in the same way that I don’t particularly like either party explaining (i.e. spinning) the policies of their rival. I know it’s going to happen, but I always suspect there is at least one other side to that story. I appreciate Dan’s point that drawing on problems in this way relies on a binarism that needs to be given a commentary or history. Your thougths?

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Blog Entries Quaker The Political

Quakers Twitter Politics During the Debate

 Just a short announcement: I suggested to my friend Martin Kelley that the online Quaker community (QuakerQuaker) should team up and discuss the presidential debate live over twitter this evening. Kind of like a worldwide, church-wide, discussion on politics in real-time.  Martin asked others what they thought about the prospect of doing something like this, and given the comments we’ve decided to go ahead with the plan. I think this has the potential to challenge Friends to listen to the debate not just with citizen’s ears, but with the ears of disciples. Not only this, but it will be the first time I’ve really had an opportunity to discuss politics on such a broad level with other Quakers in this way. If you’re on twitter and want to join the Quaker conversation tag your tweets with #qqtalk (for those of you not on twitter but interested in see what transpires follow the previous qq link). My twitter name is cwdaniels.

If you’re not a Quaker but like the idea I encourage you to create a tag and invite your faith community to join in with a discussion over the debate.

(The only ground rules Martin suggested, and which I agree with, is to keep the #qqtalk tag off snarky comments, unless for some reason it’s related.)

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Featured The Political The Theological

Younger Evangelicals Weigh in on Abortion and Other Issues

Once thought to be in the pocket of the Religious Right, many American evangelicals today are discovering a deeper understanding of what it means to be pro-life.

Kenny Hiser, communications director from Sojourners sent this article to me that will be their cover article in November, it’s called “The Meaning of ‘Life.'” For the article the authors interviewed 21 Christians from nine cities around the country, representing 6 ethnicities and aged between 26-66, they were asked about the issues that matter most to them. The key discussion that takes place in this article is that ‘life’ is still a really important issue for Christian Evangelicals and for a majority of the people interviewed here it is being interpreted in far broader than has been typical for those influenced by the Religious Right.  I appreciated reading through this and seeing how politics for at least some Evangelicals is starting to shift and I think you too will appreciate the holistic outlook that comes from these Christians, even if you disagree on some of their points. Click “read more” to see the article.